• Wells' Built Museum to unveil Orlando Magic memorabilia after smash and grab theft

    By: Q McCray , Kelly Healey


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A historic museum in Parramore will unveil memorabilia Thursday from the Orlando Magic after its basketball collection was stolen during a smash and grab in February.

    Nestled in the heart of Parramore's historic district, across the street from the Amway Center, is a gem many overlook: Wells’ Built Museum.

    The museum, which was founded by Rep. Geraldine Thompson, is a tribute to the Wells' Built hotel.

    “The former Wells’ Built hotel that opened in 1929," Thompson said.


    Dr. Williams Monroe Wells, one of Orlando’s first African American doctors, opened the hotel as one of the only places in Central Florida to accommodate African American entertainers who were barred from segregated hotels.

    "You had big bands, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, who would come to Orlando perform in white facilities, but couldn't live there," Thompson said.

    The museum houses photographs of the performers, old event posters and sports memorabilia. But its basketball collection took a shot when the items were stolen.

    “The Orlando Magic provided us a with a display of their ‘first:’ The first draft pick; the first African American manager,” Thompson said. "I was saddened."

    No one has been arrested.

    However, Thompson received good news from her neighbors at the Amway Center.

    "They called and said they saw that the things stolen were Orlando Magic memorabilia and we want to make you all whole," she said.

    The Orlando Magic is replacing the stolen memorabilia and will add more items to the collection.

    The unveiling will begin at 11:00 a.m.

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